A January Jaunt on Arthur Avenue

January 10, 2010

My brother, Brandon, who lives in Los Angeles, decided to pay us a visit for a few days. One of his first requests was “I wanna go back to the Bronx and buy salamis and eat Italian food, because I can’t get that kind of stuff in California.” Yeah, twist my arm. Like THAT’s a tough request to accommodate. Any request to go to Arthur Avenue by ANYONE is immediately granted, because it’s one of my favorite places on earth.

The Arthur Avenue section of the Bronx late evening in January. Usually this shot would be impossible because of all the car and pedestrian traffic milling about on the street.

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NJ Dining: Arturo’s Osteria

October 25, 2009

Arturo’s Osteria & Pizzeria
188 Maplewood Avenue, Maplewood NJ

Web Site: http://www.arturosnj.com

Dan Richer, Chef/Owner of Arturo’s Osteria in Maplewood.

After meeting the young and food passionate Dan Richer at the recent New Jersey Les Marmitons beer dinner, I knew that this was a guy who’s restaurant I needed to go eat at.

Richer, who has no formal culinary training but who has a passion for cooking Italian cuisine, purchased Arturo’s from the original owners (which opened in 1991 as a wood fired pizzeria) in 2006. Richer has staged at many restaurants in Italy, frequently travels to Europe and has taken what he has learned and brought it back to his small Maplewood restaurant, which has a focus on pasta, pizza, and locally sourced ingredients. While Arturo’s retains a basic menu of pasta dishes, salads, small plates and artisan pizzas, Richer has gained quite a following from his regulars and has introduced tasting menus where everything is completely off-menu and seasonal.

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NJ Dining: Bartolomeo (Old Location)

July 6, 2007

Bartolomeo has Moved to Englewood. Click Here to read about the new store.

When I want Italian deli and gourmet items, my first instinct is to head right to the Bronx for the Arthur Avenue Retail Market. However, I’m not always in the mood to head over the GW and into a potential Cross-Bronx traffic quagmire, so I’m always on the lookout for good Italian stores here in Northern NJ. The most notable one in the area is Jerry’s Gourmet in Englewood (a Ridgewood location also opened in 2006) but it can be a mob scene on the weekends and the parking lot is frequently full.

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Bartolomeo, a much smaller store in Palisades Park, has escaped my notice for several years now, but for no longer — it’s going to remain on my hot list whenever I need good salumi, pasta, and Italian goods for our pantry.

The Bartolomeo store on Grand Avenue in Palisdades Park. Plans are being made for a second larger store in downtown Englewood.

You don’t need to go to the Bronx to get great Italian gourmet goods. Click on the “Read the rest of this entry” link below for more.

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NJ Dining: Teaneck Kebab House

June 24, 2006

Teaneck Kebab House
253 DeGraw Ave, Teaneck, NJ
(201) 836-8571

One of the cool things about going out to dine at other restaurants, and well, getting out of the house, is noticing the other restaurants near where you’re going. Such a thing happened the other day when we went to Bistro En and noticed the Teaneck Kebab House on the other side of the street.

The native cuisine of Afghanistan is rather unknown to Northern New Jersey and not a lot of people know much about it. Like many cultures that are historically crossroads for trade routes, its flavors and foods are highly influenced by its neighbors, Persia (Iran/Iraq), Pakistan (and India), Mongolia and many of the former republics of the USSR.

Teaneck Kebab house has a beautiful dining room, but because its main entrance is closed to the street and the windows are draped, you’d have no idea. They also own the pizza place next door, which you need to enter in order to gain access to the Kebab House.

The room is filled with genuine Afghan carpets, giving it a very warm and cozy feel. Live entertainment is provided on weekends.

These are Sambosas, a type of fried meat turnover. They are puffy on the inside so you can take a small bite and fill them with chutney.

Teaneck Kabab House, Teaneck NJ by you.

A spicy vegetable soup with noodles.

This is the complimentary salad, which has a nice mint/yogurt dressing.

Teaneck Kabab House, Teaneck NJ by you.

Mantoo, fresh meat dumplings with a tomato/meat sauce and yogurt. The black “dust” is dried mint, which imparts an interesting flavor to the dish. The spices used in the restaurant are sourced strictly from Afghani merchants.

This is a hot eggplant appetizer. The eggplant has a really strong and bold flavor, and resembles Turkish eggplant salad somewhat, but with a different spicing. It’s eaten with traditional Afghan bread:

Afghan Bread

This is pasta with red beans, in a tangy yogurt sauce.

Kofta Kebab (spiced ground lamb) with brown Afghan Basmati rice pilaf/pilow. The rice is washed for 24 hours before cooking. Naturally all the meat served in the restaurant is Halal.

Teaneck Kabab House, Teaneck NJ by you.

Chapli Kebab, another spicy meat Kebab. Wonderful.

Teaneck Kabab House, Teaneck NJ by you.

Chicken Curry, Afghan Style.

Teaneck Kabab House, Teaneck NJ by you.

Rice for the curry.

The Pizzeria they own next door shouldn’t be overlooked — they do both deep dish and thin NY-style pizza (with Halal mozzarella cheese).

The pizza place also uses Halal meat for its Gyro sandwiches, and has a great oregano/cumin flavor to it.